Caesaromagus Temple

Temple Or Shrine

An octagonal temple built of stone masonry was constructed in Caesaromagus for the worship of a Romano-Celtic deity (or deities) in the 4th century. It was located some 560 feet (c.170m) north-west of the mansio. Possible use into the fifth century may be indicated by coins recovered from the site. Excavations were conducted at three sites within the town during 1970:

  1. at nos. 191/2 Moulsham Street timber buildings associated with minor industrial activities were first erected around the turn of the 2nd century and remained in use until the early-3rd, being finally abandoned by the end of the 4th.
  2. at nos. 29-31 Rochford Road a Roman branch-road about 13 feet (4m) wide was uncovered, with two 1st-century cremation burials set within the silt of the south-western ditch, proving that the road was probably not maintained after it had been laid. To the south and west of this road lay an early Roman stone-quarry which was later used to dispose of late-Flavian pottery wasters. By the mid-2nd century this side of the road was fronted by timber buildings which continued to be occupied until the 4th century. In the area to the north-east of the road was the temenos enclosure of a Romano-British temple, The temple was octagonal in outline with a cella about 36 feet (c.11m) in diameter on foundations 3ΒΌ feet (1m) thick, and included an 8 feet (2.5m) wide niche in the west wall. This was surrounded by a porch 58 feet (17.7m) across, the collonnade of this ambulatory being supported on foundations only 2’3″ (0.7m) wide. The temple was built upon the same site as earlier structures and has been given a terminus post quem of around 320-325AD, a small porch later being added on the east side. Of special note is an isolated post about 14 inches (c.0.35m) in diameter which was found within the sacred enclosure in association with a number of pieces of jewellery including brooches, rings and a bracelet. Some sort of native Votive totem-pole?
  3. Other investigations further to the north-east proved Roman settlement immediately adjacent to the River Can.